The year 2015 is considered the future in the film Back to the Future. The Blade Runner’s world is merely four years into the future. Thirty years ago, movies that depicted the future frequently used Asian streets in futuristic scenes—visionaries clearly imagined the growing influence of Asia in future society. It has been predicted that by 2030, Asian countries will have more economic power than North America and Europe combined, and this prediction is becoming a reality. The Financial Times reported that in 2014, China has officially overtaken the U.S. to become the world’s largest economy. It is also true that the information and communication technology (ICT) field is closely related to interaction design and HCI. It is difficult to imagine ICT and HCI without Asia.
Nevertheless, interaction design practices and studies from Asia are not well known to the outside world. Although a few Asian researchers have regularly proposed new interaction techniques and new devices, Asian HCI practitioners and researchers are still the minority in the global HCI community. This doesn’t mean that interest in HCI is low in Asia. To the contrary, large local HCI conferences are being held regularly, and vibrant HCI communities exist and continue to grow independently.
The divide may be due to diverse cultures, value perspectives, or social systems. But one thing is obvious: There are few channels that Asian HCI experts can use to easily reach outside Asia to learn and share experiences. In this situation, it is promising to see the CHI conference being held in Asia for the first time. To offer more channels for sharing and crossing between Asian HCI and other communities, this special topic presents four articles that introduce current HCI trends and movements in Asia, especially in Korea, Japan, and China.
The first article, written by CHI 2015 co-chairs Jinwoo Kim and Bo Begole, introduces how, from an experience design perspective, the conference will provide real and meaningful experiences for attendees. In the second article, Kun-Pyo Lee and I explain the evolution and trends of Korean HCI. In our view, Korea’s interaction design opportunities and challenges can be seen as a showroom of future technology. Third, Daisuke Sakamoto provides different angles and insights on Asian HCI from a quantitative perspective. His analysis focuses on the recent activities of Asian researchers at the CHI conferences. Finally, Ellen Yi-Luen Do introduces the diverse Chinese HCI activities. She defines Chinese as “something of, from, or related to China,” covering recent movements in countries like China, Taiwan, and Singapore, as well as the activities of Chinese experts active in the global HCI community.
Our world has become interconnected and mutually dependent. This is particularly true for global HCI communities. HCI is changing quickly, and these changes are happening concurrently across the globe. By learning from and working together with practitioners and researchers from different parts of the world, we can together develop successful products and services with high-quality interactions. These in turn will make everybody happy and more willing to help each other. Now is the time to share aspirations, challenges, and experiences. I hope these articles will trigger exchange and collaboration between the Asian HCI community and the rest of the global HCI community.
Tek-Jin Nam is a professor leading the Co.design:Inter.action Design Research Laboratory in the Department of Industrial Design at KAIST. His main research areas are augmented design, co-design, interaction design, and creative design methods and tools. firstname.lastname@example.org
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